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Moore delivering in a pinch for Nationals

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Moore delivering in a pinch for Nationals

NEW YORK -- Tyler Moore was asked last night about his at-bat off the bench against R.A. Dickey.

"It was kind of quick," he said with a laugh.

That's exactly what the Nationals want from their rookie slugger when he comes off the bench to pinch-hit. Manager Davey Johnson encourages his bench players to be aggressive when summoned late in games, jumping on an opponent's first pitch instead of trying to work the count.

Moore did that to perfection last night, digging in against Dickey and then clubbing a first-pitch fastball into the left-field bleachers for the two-run homer that put the Nationals ahead for good.

The 25-year-old has had to learn how to alter his hitting approach in his first taste of life coming off the bench, but the Nationals have seen encouraging signs of progress along the way.

"He's much more aggressive when he goes up to pinch-hit," Johnson said. "An everyday ballplayer likes to go up and take a pitch and get comfortable with the timing and everything. But I talked to him about it and told him: You start swinging from the get-go, and you'll gauge your timing better. And he's handled it like a veteran. He's gotten some big hits for us."

Moore is now 6-for-24 with two doubles, two homers and six RBI as a pinch-hitter. He's hitting .303 when appearing in a game as reserve. And he's now hitting .283 overall, with nine homers in only 138 big-league at-bats.

"I think it's just like anything else: It comes with experience," he said. "I failed so many times. I succeed kind of through that, learning from myself and learning on situations from the game. By no means am I a very good pinch-hitter. I was able to come through tonight."

After clubbing 31 homers each of the last two seasons in the minors, Moore has given reason to believe he could carry his success into an everyday, big-league role. But with the Nationals already well-stocked at first base and in left field, opportunities could be few and far between.

"I think Tyler has a really good chance to be a really good everyday player, a dominant game-changer type player," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "A guy that can hit the middle of the order and do damage. And he's shown that all season, really. So much so that he's forced their hand in keeping him here. Which has been very impressive. He has a great temperament for the game. He knows his role and does it well. I think he's got a long career ahead of him."

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC